9 Comments

  1. I guess that’s nice and all, but I’ve never demanded that comic strips conform to the reality in which I find myself. In fact, people might find it a relief to lose themselves in fantasy close to the previous “normal.”

  2. I tend to agree with beckoningchasm. In his second-to-last paragraph, Marciuliano addresses beckoningchasm’s view, and says that at a certain point, the divergence from reality makes the characters unrelatable. But I read fiction all the time and don’t assume that the characters are in the exact same situation I’m in right now. I don’t read old Calvin and Hobbes’ now and wonder why he isn’t practicing social distancing.

    OTOH, I did recently watch some episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs King, and it did momentarily take me out of the storyline as I briefly wondered why some situations weren’t easily resolved by calling someone’s cell phone. But the age of no-cell-phone contact is more distant than the age of physical contact.

  3. But strips like Sally Forth are supposed to be set in the present day and in a recognizable environment. I think it’s a bit jarring when they obviously have no recognition of what is going on in that kind of environment. It’s different with, say, Calvin and Hobbes, which seems relatively divorced from the larger world. And I would be comfortable with Kevin and Kell ignoring coronavirus, although Bill Holbrook is considering it, see his discussion at https://www.kevinandkell.com/. (I think he is making the right call on his other two strips.)

    It was weird that all of the newspaper comics were entirely ignoring coronavirus, and suddenly yesterday it showed up in several of them. That gives a pretty good idea of just what their lead time is.

  4. Tank McNamera is about two weeks into weekday virus gags, while the Sundays — with their longer lead times — are still pre-virus. The strip is frequently about real-life sports news, so may be on a shorter lead time than other gag strips.

  5. Frankly, I would prefer that most strips don’t turn into all virus all the time. It’s bad enough that the news is that way. I don’t need my entertainment going that direction. Lio and Non Sequitur have started. If many of the others don’t, that will be fine.

  6. On gocomics – Jimmy Johnson has posted on some strips about the lead time before strips are published in reference to things in those strips. This was done by another strip creator also – but forget who.

    In the newspaper one of the advice columnists has managed to get a note put at the top of her columns explaining the lead times and that what is in the columns might not reflect what is going on with COVID 19 to deal with the lead time.

  7. Strips that aren’t going through the usual syndication route can often be more reactive. Lenny Petersen’s “The Big Picture” has had tribute strips for Bill Withers and John Prine within a week of their deaths. He’s done some quarantine strips as well.

    Besides Lio, Heart of the City is doing some social distance strips. Both by Mark Tatulli.

  8. Strips that aren’t syndicated can be VERY quick. I remember in 2001 when the Soap on a Rope strip was online with a parody of the photo of Elián González being found in the closet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli%C3%A1n_Gonz%C3%A1lez) just hours after the incident. Or maybe sooner; that’s just when I saw the strip.

    And I hadn’t even read the news account yet, so the strip was briefly posted on CIDU.

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